The Appeals Court of Illinois recently held that an association’s board of directors does not have authority to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the association if it is not formed properly according to the condominium’s governing documents and the law. While this case is not binding in Washington, it may indicate how Washington courts would decide a similar issue.
In Forrestville, the Forrestville Condominium Association filed a complaint against a unit owner, McKinley, to secure a judgment and gain possession of the unit as a result of delinquent assessments. The association argued that it had authority under the condominium’s governing documents to manage the property and bring this lawsuit. McKinley challenged the authority of the association’s board of directors for the following reasons: there were only two members, but it is required to have three; both members were owners of the same single unit, and the Illinois Condominium Act forbids multiple board members from a single unit; and neither board member was validly elected. McKinley argued that, since the board was not valid, the notice of delinquent assessments and demand for possession she received from the association were invalid, so the lawsuit should be dismissed.
The association argued that its lawsuit should not be dismissed based on McKinley’s defenses and that any issues with the board were not related to the underlying complaint for delinquent assessments and possession of the unit. The appellate court disagreed.
The appellate court found that McKinley’s motion to dismiss, and unchallenged statements regarding the invalidity of the board, should have been considered by the trial court. The court held that only a board that is formed according to the governing documents and the law can have legal standing and authority to bring a lawsuit on behalf of an association.
4934 Forrestville Condomimium Ass’n v. McKinley, 2016 IL App (1st) 152519-U.